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Retro Post: Day After Thanksgiving

(Editor’s Note: The events in this retro post occurred on Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. I refer to my photo blog on Flickr, yet that has been deleted like all of my Yahoo accounts. I remember this home town adventure like it was yesterday. Many thanks to my friend Dan for taking the photos).

For a number of years, a grade school friend and I have been getting together in Davenport to talk and go to Blain’s Farm and Fleet the day after Thanksgiving. In a change of habits, except we did go to Farm and Fleet, we created a project to visit some of the places I have been posting about in my photo blog on Flickr and shoot photographs. We started at 8 a.m. when I picked him up at his parent’s home. A cup of coffee in tow, we got right to work, driving past his former home on Fillmore to my birthplace in this parking lot.

At My Birth Place

The parking lot is actually an upgrade from the vacant lot that sat for a number of years where the old Mercy Hospital was torn down. We both shared our experiences there, and then moved over to the church where I was baptized two blocks away.

Holy Family Church

When I secured a copy of my baptismal record to apply to the Bishop to attend seminary, I found they got my middle name wrong. In my experience in dealing with record keepers, this type of error occurs frequently. What is a person to do, as the wants of historical revisionists are not wanted by record clerks, most of the time. The historical record is what it is. After this, we continued South on Fillmore Street.

At the intersection with Locust Street, I pointed out the place where I heard JFK had been shot in Dallas. Continuing South on Fillmore we passed the duplex where I lived during my first year.

Fillmore Street Duplex

Continuing on, we came to the building where I attended grades two through six. It looks abandoned and the window in the room that was second grade was broken.

Broken Second Grade Window

We walked around the building and headed back to the church where I had parked my pickup truck.We drove by the former Geifman Foods, Northwest Bank and Trust and headed to Five Points where the Spudnut Shop used to be. It was gone, as were so many other neighborhood businesses from the old days.

We ended up by the old Turners Hall, which was a combination gymnasium and social club created by German immigrants and modeled after the Turnhalles in Germany. It too had fallen into disrepair.

Near the Turners Hall

Next we went to Fejervary Park which has long been a place for family gatherings. We checked out Mother Goose Land and Monkey Island and both looked to have renovations in progress. I found the stand of woods where my great grandmother’s family used to set out a picnic and converse in Polish.

Traditional Family Picnic Area

We drove past the place where my friend’s first house in Davenport had been located. It had been torn down. We drove past the Bishop’s old residence wondering if the Catholic Bishop still lived there. Next stop the place we moved after Fillmore Street at 919 Madison.

919 Madison Street

The hill is so steep on Madison I set the parking brake for the first time in over a year. We took lots of photos here, and the brick-paved street was particularly photogenic.

Madison Street

Next we drove downtown to River Drive past the old city cemetery where the cholera victims are buried in a mass grave. Turning left, we headed to Oscar Mayer.

Oscar Mayer Davenport Plant

I posted another photo of Oscar Mayer on my photoblog.

From here, East on River Drive, past KSTT Radio to where we lived behind the Wonder Bakery, now called Continental Baking. The house had been converted to a parking lot. Leaving there, we drove to Mississippi Avenue and stopped at the building where I had an apartment before leaving for the Army. I lived in the apartment in the second floor, far right window.

Apartment on Mississippi Avenue

As long as we were in the area, we stopped by the apartment on Walling Court where I lived with a high school friend while I was waiting to enter the seminary. It is located near where the jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke was born. From here, we wove our way around Grand and Farnum to Central Park and then the Village Inn on Harrison where we stopped, drank a cup of coffee and had bagels while we loaded the photos on my computer and reviewed them.

From here we went to Farm and Fleet and browsed the farm clothing. My friend bought some tins of popcorn for work presents and we dropped them back at his parents home where the women of the family were having a wedding shower. Threatened with our lives for intruding on the long planned, all female event, we headed over to the other family house, a few blocks away, where the men were gathered watching the Hawkeye v. Corn Husker football game, eating Kielbasa, bologna and ham salad sandwiches and drinking Kamikazes. We had lunch and I headed back to Big Grove around 1 p.m. It was a day about as good as they get.

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